I know, I know, we’ve not had Hallowe’en yet, and I’m already talking about Christmas – but, in my defence, last year I left everything until the second week of December, and I ended up in a sweat with sticks glue-gunned to my hand and almost missed the festive season entirely. This year, I want to do everything slowly, plan ahead and enjoy the whole experience, rather than panic-crafting two days before Christmas in a huff in front of National Lampoons (which means that naurally I’ve started a Pinterest board as well…..)
I love everything rustic and nature-filled, so obviously my Christmas decorations are based around foliage, wood, natural fabrics and simple homemade decorations (and we add some glittery stuff for the kiddos!) – this sort of thing does take some advance planning though, so based on my experience of last year, today I’ve got my five top tips for rustic-style festivities.
1. Collect pine cones now for free crafts later
Pine cones are the quintessential festive accessory, and there are SO many things you can do with them; display them in beautiful bowls, make garlands from them, hang them on the tree, spray them gold, dip-paint them…. the list is pretty much limitless. You can obviously buy them on eBay, but why pay for something later than you can gather and keep now for absolutely nothing?!
2. Invest in some good blankets
I do tend to go on about blankets quite a lot, but they’re literally one of my favourite things. There’s nothing better than snuggling up with a glass of mulled wine, a plate of mince pies (or the festive chocolates!) and the Christmas specials in the evenings, and for us, this usually carries on way after the big day. If you’re feeling crafty, or fancy learning a new skill, there’s plenty of time to knit or crochet your own blanket – YouTube has plenty of helpful tutorials, or check out websites such as Lion Brand or Ravelry for patterns.
3. Bring the outside in
It might sound odd, but sticks and twigs are the basis of a lot of rustic style decorations; this star I made for our mantel last year had a base made from twigs I’d found at our local country park, and many homemade wreaths are formed around similar things, so it pays to start collecting early. It’s also a good idea to collect plenty of beautifully coloured leaves now, then preserve them for Christmas crafts and decorations in a month or so. Later on, look around at places selling live trees for offcuts to decorate your home with – they’re usually more than happy to give them away for free!
4. Buy or make some lanterns
There’s nothing better than the lights twinkling on the tree, and a few candles dotted around for creating a cosy atmosphere. If you’re the crafty type, start collecting tin cans now to make simple DIY versions later on, or alternatively pay a visit to the lovely folks at Houseology, who have an entire department dedicated to tea lights and lanterns; I’m in love with the Miners Tealight Holders (£22 for three! Such a bargain!) which have festive shapes cut out of the sides – great for casting Christmas-sy shadows on the wall. (The gorgeous images at the top of this post have been sent kindly from the Houseology team and you can see the entire lookbook here – vintage ice-skates, trunks, lanterns, wooden decorations and foliage galore. Heaven!)
5. Add some festive cheer
I used to be all about colour, but now that my style is a little more neutral, Christmas is always a bit of a challenge in that department – wood and foliage are great, but you definitely need something to make it sparkle. I’m going to be sticking to traditional colours; deep reds, silvers and golds, white fairy lights and a little bit of glitter (well, a lot of glitter in the kiddos case, lets be honest!). There’ll probably be quite a bit of washi tape in there as well!
Many thanks to the team at Houseology for the kind use of their images and for collaborating on this post.